Cindy Sofer – Free Association

17 October 2001 to 18 November 2001

In June 1938, Sigmund Freud, now 82 years old and in fragile health, travelled to England with his extended family, seeking a haven from Nazi persecution.

Their temporary home was in Elsworthy Road, and Freud’s enthusiasm for his new surroundings is expressed in a letter: “Ernst has rented a charming little house for us, my room looks out onto a verandah which overlooks our garden framed with flower beds and gives on to a large tree-studded park”.

The charming house seems to have revived the ailing Freud, who appears in remarkable spirits in the “Home Movies” as he greets the representatives of the Royal Society who came to honour him. Marie Bonaparte was also on hand to record the scene of Freud with his grandsons Stephen and Lucian (sons of Ernst) looking for goldfish in the pond in the garden at Elsworthy Road. Freud’s zest for life, his insatiable curiosity and his affection for his family are all caught on camera with a freshness and immediacy that words could not convey.

Miraculously the pond in the garden at Elsworthy Road has survived the decades almost unchanged. It has come to inspire the lens and brush of Cindy Sofer. In her exhibition at the museum Cindy Sofer shared with us her creative, vibrant vision of this small aquatic world, exploring its half-submerged treasure of magic and colour.